Idris Badmus; an entrepreneur of estimable passion gives Africanpreneurs a full account of his journey into the world of shoe business in his school days. His determination and unique passion is an inspiration to us all. Read more about this remarkable young man and his journey….
Badmus Idris is the CEO of Captain Bosbain – a shoe making outfit and accessories. He is also a graduate of Management and Accounting from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He holds An Executive Masters In Project Management, Cupe Projects UK, and certified Project Management Professional ( PMP), USA.
My initiation into the clique of fashion originated from an early exposure to beautiful things – growing up as a child with my siblings, our parents gave us everything we could ever dream of; toys and the best clothes money could buy, including a good education. I have wonderful memories of my childhood; full of fun, lots of traveling, and a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes, more than I could ever need. However, my journey into the realm of shoe making did not launch until many years later.
While I was an undergraduate at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, a rule was passed in the Department of Accounting which required students to dress formally twice a week. As a member of the legislative arm that passed the law, I was not exempted – I had to lead by example. I wanted to be classy and unique but alas! I could not find any befitting shoes around. Fortunately, one day, I came across a classmate who was wearing a lovely pair of shoes. My curiosity was immediately heightened and I approached him to inquire how I could get the same shoes for myself. My classmate told me his cousin in Lagos had made the shoes. I was stunned and got more inquisitive – from that moment I could not wait to have mine made.
During the semester break, I searched for the person who had made the shoes worn by my classmate. After my persistent efforts, I finally met him at his workshop in Lagos. I was so impressed at the sight of the good shoes this young man had made, even though, that was not the first time I had seen leather being transformed into beautiful crafts. In my secondary school days, I had also met a guy who made leather slippers and I had ordered one which lasted longer than I can remember.
The Year 2009 marked the beginning of my journey into the shoe making world. However, at this point, I functioned more as a distributor. I had ordered shoes for myself and when school resumed I got several compliments from a number of friends; many who were also interested in purchasing the shoes. I got orders from these students and went to Lagos to pick them up from the young shoe maker. In a short span, more orders flowed in and I said to myself: “This might be the opportunity to raise an extra income.” At that point, I knew I had to keep getting orders, so I ordered more shoes for myself.
Most of the time, when I visited the shoe maker’s workshop, I spent an average of 5 hours. The more hours I spent there, the more inquisitive I became. I was always trying to see how things were done; from leather cutting to other techniques. Then, there was a day, the shoe maker was short of manpower and pressed for time. So, I offered to help. I picked up the brush and gum though himself and the others present were surprised but I told them I could do it. That was how I started from brush to hammer. Afterwards, I learnt more from them and did research online to gain extra knowledge. From that moment onwards, I decided I wanted to focus on designing my own shoes. With that decision in mind, I progressed to learning how to sketch from a friend and then proceeded to learning how to create and cut patterns
During school breaks, I would take some shoes down to Ibadan, where my folks resided, to sell at the Alesinloye market and Dugbe/Ekotedo market. The feedback I got were discouraging in terms of the pricing. Therefore, I was forced to return to Lagos where the pricing was good and my products were appreciated.
After observing the national service, I got a job and decided to put the shoe business on hold but it was very difficult for me. As from time to time, my clients kept calling to order for shoes but I was not available and had to send someone to deliver it. As much as I wanted to keep my job, I was not also ready to let go of my shoe making business and my clients. I found myself trying to sustain a balance between the two. However, this could not last forever. On a glorious day, (I call it glorious because it marked a new successful phase in my life) I was advised to resign at work due to the communication gap and negligence noticed by the management. After that incident, I stopped looking for paid employment. Even when I got tons of offers from places I had applied before, there was no looking back for me. I realized it was going to be a very big sacrifice but I said to myself – “There’s no going back. I have to focus on the future.” From that moment, I have been managing my own business.
In retrospect, I know I made the right decision. Yes, it was not easy initially because of the lack of financial support but in the end my persistence paid off. I have a thriving shoe making business today and my products – Captain Bosbain’s shoes are available on the following platforms: Jumia Nigeria, Konga, and DealDey. I am working towards opening a showroom soon.
For more information on his prices, check the ‘shop’ segment of Africanpreneurs or click on this link: http://www.africanpreneurs.com/shop/ and contact him on Twitter: @captainbosbain